After several rumors and much speculation, Anderson Silva has signed on to face polarizing welterweight bad boy Nick Diaz at the UFC’s upcoming Super Bowl weekend pay-per-view (PPV) show, tentatively set to be UFC 183, on January 31,2015.
Former longtime middleweight champion Silva has been out of action since suffering a gruesome broken leg against current champion Chris Weidman in their pivotal rematch at last December’s UFC 168. Prior to losing the belt to Weidman at UFC 162, he famously reeled off the longest win streak in UFC history with an unprecedented 16 straight.
Diaz has been out of action for even longer, his most recent bout a one-sided decision loss to legendary former champion Georges St. Pierre at UFC 158 in March 2013. Continuously flirting with “retirement” after each passing bout, Diaz also lost his previous bout, a hotly debated UFC 143 decision loss to Carlos Condit for the interim UFC 170-pound strap.
The former Strikeforce champion hasn’t won a bout since he beat a shell of BJ Penn in the main event of October 2011’s UFC 137, but somehow he’s locked up a bout with the No. 1-ranked middleweight in the world.
There’s no arguing that the Stockton bad boy can move the needle, and that’s what this fight is obviously all about.
White was on hand to address the situation, first offering a vote of confidence for Silva’s health:
“He’s 100 percent healthy, he’s kicking again and he feels great. He’s chomping at the bit to get back into the Octagon.”
He then moved on to discuss what beating Silva would do for Diaz’ title shot chances:
“Nick Diaz is a very popular fighter. If he comes in and beats Anderson Silva, he could fight for the title. He’s right in there. It would be a huge, huge win for him.”
Indeed it would. With so many high-profile match-ups set to grace our screens in upcoming months, where does this one rank on your list?